Northern Illinois To Host MAC Wrestling Championship March 5-6

Updated 3/4/2011

2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships

Northern Illinois University will host the 2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 at the NIU Convocation Center. Six teams will vie for the right to be called MAC Champion, while 60 wrestlers will compete for 10 individual titles and 18 spots in the NCAA Championships.



Fans can purchase tickets to the 2011 MAC Wrestling Championships at the Convocation Center Box Office, or by calling 815-752-6800. There are two ticket options available, a two-day pass and single day ticket price.

Ticket prices are as follows:
Two-Day Pass Single Day
Adult: $15 $10
Youth/Senior: $10 $6
Group (10 or more): $8 $4
MAC Students: No charge with valid University ID

Schedule of Events
(All times Central)

Saturday, March 5, 2011
12 p.m. Doors Open to the Public
12:55 p.m. National Anthem
1 p.m. Preliminary Matches
2:50 p.m. Introduction of Teams
3 p.m. Semifinals
5 p.m. Consolation Semifinals

Sunday, March 6, 2011
10 a.m. Doors Open to the Public
11 a.m. 5th and 6th Place Matches
11:55 a.m. National Anthem
12 p.m. Championship and Consolation Finals
3 p.m. Awards Presentations (Immediately following final match)

For more information on the 2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships, log on to the 2011 MAC Wrestling Championship Central page. 




Central Michigan Wrestling Prepares to Defend MAC Championships Title

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan wrestling program travels to Northern Illinois this weekend in search of its 10th consecutive Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships title. Competition begins Saturday at 1 p.m. The championship matches and consolation finals get underway at noon on Sunday.

Each of the 10 individual weight class winners will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The NCAA allocated the MAC multiple automatic bids at five different weight classes.

"This is the part of the season that we build toward all year," said CMU head coach Tom Borrelli. "I'm looking forward to seeing how our young team competes and responds to the atmosphere of the conference tournament this weekend."

CMU Seeking 10th Straight MAC Championships Crown: CMU has won nine consecutive MAC Championships titles and 12 of the last 13 conference tournament crowns. CMU's current streak of nine straight titles is the longest streak in MAC history.

  • The Chippewas have won 14 MAC Championships titles overall. Ohio, the only other program besides CMU to win the conference tournament since 1998, has won 15 MAC Championships titles.

  • CMU shared the 2011 MAC regular season title with Kent State and Ohio. Each of the three teams posted identical 4-1 conference records. The championship was CMU's 12th in the past 13 seasons. CMU has won 66 of its last 69 MAC dual meets.

Three Returning Champions in CMU Lineup: Three former MAC champions will be part of CMU's lineup this weekend. Senior Mike Miller is a two-time MAC champion, having won the conference title at 174 pounds in 2009 and 165 pounds in 2007. He will wrestle at 165 pounds this weekend while trying to become the 10th three-time MAC champion in CMU history. Junior Scotti Sentes, who will compete at 133 pounds, won the 125-pound title as a true freshman in 2009. Sophomore Ben Bennett will defend his 2010 conference title at 174 pounds.

Six Chippewas to Make MAC Championships Debut: Six members of CMU's lineup will be competing at the MAC Championships for the first time in their careers: Christian Cullinan (125 pounds), Scott Mattingly (141 pounds), Donnie Corby (149 pounds), Ryan Cubberly (157 pounds), Craig Kelliher (184 pounds) and Chad Friend (197 pounds).

MAC Allocated 18 NCAA Championships Bids: Each of the weight class winners at this weekend's conference tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia. The NCAA awarded the conference multiple automatic bids at five weight classes: 133 (two bids), 157 (three bids), 174 (two bids), 197 (two bids) and heavyweight (four bids). In each of the other five classes, only the MAC champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Looking Back at the 2010 MAC Championships: Five Chippewas won individual titles as CMU claimed its ninth consecutive conference tournament championship in 2010. Matt Steintrager (125), Conor Beebe (141), Steve Brown (157), Tyler Grayson (165) and Ben Bennett (174) each won their weight class, and all 10 Chippewas finished in third place or better. CMU, the tournament host, scored 94 team points to finish ahead of Kent State (73) and Ohio (62).

Hitting the Century Mark: Nine times the winning team at the MAC Championships has scored at least 100 points, and CMU has accounted for seven of those instances. The nine teams to score at least 100 points at the MAC Championships:

Team (Year) - Points 

1. Central Michigan (1999) - 124.5

2. Central Michigan (2005) - 119.5

3. Central Michigan (2009) - 111.5

4. Central Michigan (1998) - 116

5. Central Michigan (2008) - 110

6. Central Michigan (2007) - 106.5

7. Ohio (1972) - 104

8. Ohio (1973) - 103

9. Central Michigan (2006) - 102.5

In the Rankings: CMU was ranked 14th in the final regular season InterMat poll and 24th in the final regular season NWCA/USA Today poll. The InterMat team rankings are based on InterMat's individual weight class rankings, while the NWCA/USA Today poll is voted on by a nationwide pool of head coaches.

Four Chippewas are ranked in the top 20 nationally of their weight class by InterMat: Scotti Sentes (No. 11, 133 pounds), Mike Miller (No. 18, 165 pounds), Ben Bennett (No. 7, 174 pounds) and Jarod Trice (No. 2, heavyweight).

Fearsome Threesome: Scotti Sentes, Ben Bennett and Jarod Trice were a combined 40-6 in dual meets this season and combined to score 153 dual meet points, 54.3 percent of CMU's total of 282 points in 16 duals. Sentes was 13-3 in duals with a team-leading 57 points, Bennett was 14-2 with 51 points and Trice was 13-1 with 45 points.

Five Earn First MAC Wins: Five different Chippewas have earned their first career MAC dual victories this season. Sophomore Christian Cullinan (125 pounds) and redshirt freshman Craig Kelliher (197 pounds) posted wins in the Chippewas' 21-13 win at Northern Illinois, junior Chad Friend (184 pounds) claimed his first conference victory in CMU's 21-17 loss at Ohio, redshirt freshman Scott Mattingly (141 pounds) was victorious in the Chippewas' 19-14 win over Buffalo and senior Ryan Cubberly (157 pounds) picked up his first career MAC victory in the Chippewas' 29-3 win over Eastern Michigan.

Chippewas Win 10th Straight Over Michigan State: CMU's 19-18 win at Michigan State on Jan. 21 was its 10th consecutive victory over the Spartans dating back to 2001. The victory evened the all-time series at 13-13. The Chippewas have won 14 of their last 15 duals against in-state opponents.

Bennett Continues Winning Ways: Sophomore Ben Bennett improved to 25-5 overall, including 14-2 in dual meets, with a pair of major decisions during the final week of the regular season. Bennett leads the team in dual victories and is second in overall victories. Four of his five losses have been to an opponent who has been ranked No. 1 nationally at 174 pounds this season.

Trice Takes on the Top 10: Junior heavyweight Jarod Trice, ranked No. 2 nationally, is 5-3 against opponents in the most recent InterMat top 10, including a 3-1 exhibition loss to No. 3 Ryan Flores (American) at the NWCA All-Star Classic in November.

Top of the Tournament: Scotti Sentes (133 pounds), Ben Bennett (174) and Jarod Trice (heavyweight) combined for seven top-three finishes at the Body Bar Invitational, Cliff Keen Invitational and Midlands Championships. Sentes won the Body Bar and was third at Midlands, Bennett finished runner-up at all three events and Trice was third at the Cliff Keen and runner-up at Midlands.

Trice Travels the World: Junior heavyweight Jarod Trice has competed in a pair of events outside of CMU's schedule this season. In October, Trice placed eighth in Greco-Roman at the University World Championships in Italy. He was the highest placing American in Greco-Roman at the event. In November, Trice represented CMU at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Fresno, Calif. American's Ryan Flores scored a third-period takedown to defeat Trice, 3-1.

CMU Adds Four During Early Signing Period: Four high school student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Chippewas for the 2011-12 season, including three of the top-60 ranked recruits in the country. Ty Davis (141 pounds), Zach Horan (133), Joey Kielbasa (157) and Devin Pommerenke (285) committed to CMU during the early signing period. Horan (No. 16), Kielbasa (No. 59) and Pommerenke (No. 42) are ranked among the top 60 recruits nationally by InterMat. The group was ranked as the No. 13 recruiting class in the country by W.I.N. Magazine.



Wrestling Treks to DeKalb for 2011 MAC Championships

YPSILANTI, Mich. ( - The Eastern Michigan University wrestling team will compete in the 2011 Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend, March 5-6. The Eagles have seven wrestlers making their MAC Championship debut on Friday while veteran and senior David Wade will be vying to become a national qualifier for the second straight year. Action begins at 1 p.m. Saturday.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Eastern Michigan University will head to DeKalb, Ill. with nothing to lose and a chip on its shoulder after coming up short in each of its five Mid-American Conference dual meets this season. Four Eagles were ranked in the conference's final coaches poll. Nick Whitenburg is third at 197 while Nick Hendrick (165), Chris Eggert (174) and David Wade (HWT) are each ranked fourth in their respective weight classes.

As a team, the Eagles will head to DeKalb, Ill. projected to finish sixth with five points, four points behind tournament host Northern Illinois University which has nine points. The Chippewas enter the weekend as nine-time reigning MAC Champs, but go in projected to finish second with 23 points to Kent State which goes in projected to garner 27 points. Ohio was projected to finish third with 19 points followed by Buffalo in fourth with 17 points.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: The last time Eastern Michigan captured the MAC title was back in 1995-96 when it pulled off the underdog upset after going just 1-4 in the MAC regular season. Since then, the Green and White have finished in fifth or sixth place each year except in 2005 when the Eagles wound up tied for fourth.

"Winning the MAC Title would be a very difficult task, but I would never throw it out of the realm of possibilities," said Head Coach Derek DelPorto on the possibility of another underdog performance.     "Our mentality this week is one match at a time and leave everything out there. It's win or be done, and nobody on this team is ready for his season to be finished."

Last season, five wrestlers placed at the 2010 MAC Championship for EMU. Sean Clair at 133 took fourth and David Wade at heavyweight placed second to qualify for nationals, while Alex Ortman (4th at 165), Phillip Joseph (4th at 184) and Justin Brandel (5th at 174) also placed in their respective divisions.

UNDER-APPRECIATED: The NCAA has awarded the Mid-American Conference with 18 of the 282 automatic bids to the Division I National Championship in Philadelphia, Pa, March 18-20, four fewer bids than the MAC was awarded a year ago. This includes one spot at 125 lbs., two at 133 lbs., one at 141 lbs. and 149 lbs., three at 157 lbs., one at 165, two at 174 lbs., one at 184, two at 197 lbs., and four at heavyweight.

"That's a very low number for the talent pool in this conference," DelPorto said. "We had so many wrestlers in our conference on the bubble of qualifying for a slot, but came up just short leaving five weight classes this weekend where the champion is the only automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. "Bottom line, you have to be the best you can be for two days in a row!"

The Big Ten Conference was granted more automatic bids than any other conference with 64. The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association garnered the second-most bids with 46, followed by the Big 12 Conference which will get 33. Also, there will be 48 at-large bids awarded following a meeting of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee, March 9. The selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.

YOUNG BLOOD: Eastern Michigan has a young and exciting group of talented grapplers this season, featuring four freshmen regularly in its starting lineup and as many as five on occasion. Seven Eagles in all will be making their MAC Championship debuts, including: freshman Jared Germaine (125), junior Filliberto Colon (133), freshman Mike LeHolm (141), senior Nick Hendrick (165), sophomore Chris Eggert (174), freshman Khodor Hoballah (184) and freshman Nick Whitenburg (197).

"We will have four freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and two seniors competing this weekend. It is very exciting for the future of our program," DelPorto said. "We will have virtually everyone back next year and again the following year. I told these young guys to go out there and make a name for yourself now...don't wait until you are a senior."

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Two seniors don the Green and White this year in Nick Hendrick and David Wade. Wade will be vying for his second trip to nationals while Hendrick is eyeing his first.

"I think Nick and David could and have the ability to each win their weight classes if things go right," DelPorto said of his senior leaders. "If they truly believe in themselves on Saturday and Sunday, things should go very well for them.

"No matter what happens, I am proud of them and thankful for their loyalty and passion throughout the years."



MAC Championships Await Flashes with 18 NCAA Bids on the Line in DeKalb

In search of its first conference tournament title since 1990, No. 17 Kent State heads to DeKalb, Ill. this weekend for the Mid-American Conference Championships. Northern Illinois' Convocation Center will host the two-day event Saturday and Sunday (March 5-6), where 18 automatic qualifying spots to the NCAA Championships will be awarded. The Golden Flashes, Central Michigan and Ohio all finished in a three-way tie for the MAC regular season crown with conference marks of 4-1.

KSU has four wrestlers (Nic Bedelyon, Matt Cathell, Dustin Kilgore, Brendan Barlow) ranked in the Top 15 of a national poll and four Flashes (Casey Newburg, Bedelyon, Cathell, Kilgore) are ranked in the No. 1 spot in the MAC Coaches Poll.

LIVE VIDEO:  Live video of both mats on Saturday and Sunday can be seen on on the Huskie All-Access page. A monthly subscription is $6.95.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  Since the MAC Championships began in 1952, KSU has won 10 tournament crowns, including six straight from 1977-82 under Head Coach Ron Gray. The Flashes have finished second 24 times, including each of the last five seasons.

Central Michigan has won nine consecutive conference tournament championships and 12 of the last 13. Ohio (2001) has been the only other school to win a title in that span.

The Golden Flashes will bring three returning MAC champions to DeKalb. Dustin Kilgore looks to become the ninth three-time MAC champion in school history. Brendan Barlow won a MAC title in 2010, while Nic Bedelyon, claimed a conference crown as a true freshman in 2008.

Other returning placewinners at the MAC Championships include Ross Tice, who finished second in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Chase Skonieczny placed fourth last season.

LAST ACTION: Three matches against Central Michigan were decided by three points or less (141, 149, 285) and all three of those decisions went to the Chippewas in a 20-14 dual win over Kent State on Feb. 20.

The loss snapped KSU's eight dual winning streak, forced a three-way tie atop the MAC standings and prevented the Flashes from giving Jim Andrassy his 100th career victory as a head coach. Matt Cathell and Dustin Kilgore each won by major decision, but CMU took 6-of-10 matches.

UP NEXT: Kent State will compete in the 2011 NCAA Championships March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.



Huskies Welcome MAC's Best for 2011 Wrestling Championships

NIU looking to earn conference title on home mat

DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University wrestling team will have the home mat advantage on its side as the Huskies play host to the 2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships this weekend at the NIU Convocation Center.   

The Championships open Saturday, Mar. 5 with preliminary matches at 1 p.m. The semifinals begin at 3 p.m. and the consolation semifinals start at 5 p.m. Sunday's action begins at 11 a.m. with the fifth and sixth place matches and the championship and consolation bouts starting at 12 p.m. All times listed are Central.

"We've accomplished a lot here and we're proud of that," said NIU head coach Dave Grant who will be coaching in his final MAC Championships. "We're excited about going out there, wrestling hard and being intense. We want to show our home fans what it's all about."

The Huskies (5-11, 1-4), who hosted the 2006 MAC Championships in the Convocation Center, are one of six teams vying for the right to be called MAC Champion and have several wrestlers capable of winning a MAC title.

Two veterans that look to make a run in their final MAC Championships are redshirt seniors Bryan Deutsch (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City) and Tristen DeShazer (Wichita, Kan./West). Deutsch comes into Saturday with a record of 19-9 and 3-2 in the MAC and is looking for his third-straight trip to Nationals. Deutsch won the MAC title at 157 in 2009 and qualified for an at large bid in 2010.  He looks to finish his career win his best performance yet.   

DeShazer has won five of his last six matches, and comes into Saturday with an overall record of 15-9 and 3-2 mark in MAC action.  He has a team-high nine pins, two over MAC opponents.   

"Bryan has been there before," Grant said. "He's had a great year. He's been in the top 20 most of the year, a Midlands placer and has had some big wins.

"Tristen has done a great job. He's coming off a lot of pins here at the end of the season. He's got a lot of things going for him right now."

Redshirt junior Brad Dieckhaus (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell Central) is in the midst of his hottest stretch of the season with expectations set high coming off four straight victories.  He enters with a team best 4-1 record in the MAC and a 13-8 record overall.   

Freshman Nick Smith (Ida, Mich./Ida) will be competing in his first MAC Championships in what looks to be a promising career. Smith enters with a 2-1 record in the MAC, missing two matches due to injury.  However, he has posted a team best 22-7 overall record and carries a six match-winning streak into Saturday.

Tickets to the 2011 MAC Wrestling Championships can be purchased tickets at the Convocation Center Box Office, or by calling 815-752-6800. There are two ticket options available, a two-day pass and single day ticket price. There will be live scoring as well as live video of each match through Huskie All-Access. All-Access subscribers pay just $6.95 a month or $49.95 a year to receive all NIU radio Radio and show broadcasts.